This month’s highlighted member is Emma Locatelli, a recently graduated Ph.D. student hailing from Yale University. Emma specializes in palentology, focusing on the intersection of taphonomy and paleobotany. She has spent the last few years studying how decay and early mineralization impact the leaf fossil record and, more broadly, is interested in the preservation of soft-bodied organisms. Interestingly, she was recently involved in a study that used taphonomy to elucidate the identity of the enigmatic Tully Monster -- who knew that the state fossil of Illinois is a vertebrate!
Upon finishing her Ph.D., Emma will be moving to Washington, D.C. to begin a Congressional Science Fellowship sponsored by the American Geosciences Institute. Throughout her education, she has been interested in how science and policy impact one another and society and, as such, she has decided to pursue a career in science policy. Emma notes that, as geoscientists, we tend to "think at multiple scales" which will be useful in assessing how a policy or piece of legislation will affect the country immediately and several years down the line." While leaving a life of research is bittersweet, Emma is excited to be able to provide a voice for geoscience in policy decisions and benefit our community in a different, but no less important, way.
Aside from her fascinating work, Emma also serves as the Alternate Northeast Section Delegate, and in this work has found that "AWG is a community of people that encourage one another to succeed regardless of gender, race, or background...I love being part of such a diverse and dynamic group, and I value the work AWG does to ensure that women everywhere have the opportunity to become geoscientists." She credits the organization as exposing her to "many supportive men and women from areas of geology" who she wouldn't normally interact with, including members of industry as well as academia.
So, Emma, what impact do you hope to make through AWG?
"Growing up, the word 'geologist' conjured images of bearded men in plaid on a mountain. Being part of AWG was a factor in changing that image for me, and I hope that by working with other leaders of AWG, I can help to change the face of geoscience to reflect the diversity of the field - we are men and women that work in the field, in labs, on ships, and in space."
Thanks, Emma, for your commitment to changing the face of the geosciences!
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